Obie Trice & MoSS Interview

Obie Trice
Artist:Obie Trice
Label:Black Market Ent.
Next Project:Special Reserve
Twitter:Obie Trice on Twitter
Website:Obie Trice's Website

As serious drinkers are likely aware, fine whiskey spends several years maturing in an oak cask before arriving on store shelves, and it’s during this process that the spirit develops much of its distinctive flavor. Similarly, the best hip-hop not only weathers the years, but improves with age – for proof, just take a sip of ex-Shady emcee Obie Trice and producer MoSSSpecial Reserve.

Recorded from 1996 to 2000 but not available to the public till last Tuesday, the 15th, the previously-unreleased cuts collected on Special Reserve showcase MoSS and Obie as young, hungry up-and-comers with a passion for hip-hop and an aggressive, underground sensibility. Featuring reader-acclaimed leaks “On & On” and “I Am,” the vintage set serves as prelude to the 2010 arrival of Trice’s first post-Shady studio album, Bottom’s Up

In an exclusive interview with our own DJZ,” Obie Trice and MoSS step into the Booth to discuss their decision to release the decade-old material on Special Reserve, how far they’ve come both artistically and personally since the project’s recording, and the one alcoholic beverage that Obie, a dyed-in-the-wool drinker (and unrepentant Twelve-Step veteran), refuses to touch.

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Obie Trice Interview Transcription

DJ Booth:  What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy, “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Motown emcee who is set to release his first project since splitting from his one-time label home at Shady Records. Accompanied by the buzzworthy beatsmith whose production is featured on one-hundred percent of the new album, please welcome the men behind Special Reserve, Obie Trice and MoSS – how are you guys doin’?

MoSS:  I’m good, man.

Obie Trice:  What’s good?

DJ Booth:  What’s good is, Obie, I’ve been waitin’ on another round for quite some time. You dropped the second round in ‘06; will this Special Reserve quench my thirst?

Obie Trice:  Well, Special Reserve is a collection of a lot of records that me and MoSS did, like, from ‘96 to 2000. All of this music is over a decade ago. It’s real underground music, what we were feelin’ at the time, MoSS’ creative input, my creative input, and this is some of the music that initially sparked Eminem’s attention, which got me signed to Shady Records. So, that’s what Special Reserve is. Bottom’s Up is my new record that’s comin’ out in 2010, and this is just like a stocking stuffer for fans of MoSS, fans of Obie Trice to really just cop and say, “Wow, I’ve got music from when these cats was young as hell, just kids.”

DJ Booth:  You mentioned, Obie, that this is material that you guys recorded some time ago. Why is it that it took so long for you guys to get this out to the masses?

Obie Trice:  Actually, that’s a MoSS question. MoSS called me, he called me up and he said, “Obie, you need to check this out. I’m thinkin’ about using some of the music, enhancin’ some of the production on it and kinda putting this thing out.” So, it took me a few days to get back with him about it, I had to think about it. Since we both have a passion for hip-hop music, and this is something we both loved to do, I felt like it was a go. This is music people can have from me and MoSS.

DJ Booth:  So MoSS called you up and said, “I’m sick of sitting on all this good music. I need to put it out, so everyone can hear it. Is that how it went?

Obie Trice:  For the most part. [laughs] He actually asked me, what did I think about it. I was kinda like, “I don’t know, the lyrics’s not who I am today…” But I kind of sat and thought about it, and took it for what it was, and at the end of the day, it’s music, and it’s how I was feeling at the time, when I was younger. It’s the music that I was sellin’ out the back of the trunk, back in the day, and that we both were passionate about at the time. So I felt like, “Hey, it’s a good look!”

DJ Booth:  MoSS, when Obie was signed to Shady, in the back of your mind did you think, “Nobody is ever gonna hear this album?”

MoSS:  [laughs] I guess there were a few times where, just because of the amount of time that had passed. I questioned whether or not, at this point, we could still do something with it. We obviously were both busy in our careers, and we were both workin’ on a lot of different projects on our own time. It definitely crossed my mind, but when I pulled them out, when I pulled the music out and I pulled the ADATs out and I started to play with some of the a cappellas, and I started to formulate what eventually has become the Special Reserve that you heard, I realized that the music was relevant, and so I just called Obie and put it out there. I couldn’t, obviously, have done this without him.

DJ Booth:  Special Reserve, for all of our under-21 listeners, is a very strong alcoholic beverage. So, guys, how powerful an impact can this project have on both your longtime consumers and first-time drinkers, if you will?

Obie Trice:  [laughs] How powerful of an impact would it have on longtime consumers?

DJ Booth:  Yeah, people who have been following what you’ve been doing for quite some time, as opposed to people who might be new to Obie Trice and MoSS.

Obie Trice:  It’s one of those things where, if you’re a new listener, can you relate? I don’t know. Is it the type of music that you understood back then? Or it could be that you’re a new listener and you dig it just because.

DJ Booth:  I agree with you. Good music is good music; it does not matter when it was done. It obviously can translate over decades, which it has done in this case. So, we’re talkin’ 13 years ago, you guys were obviously at a much different place in both of your careers. Where did you think you’d be by about 2010?

MoSS:  I’ll answer this one first – well, I’ll tell you one thing is, I didn’t expect us to be puttin’ this record out in 2010. If you would’ve asked me back in ‘97, when we were recording Dope Jobs Homeless... I’m such a big record collector and a fan of music and really at the time – I remember when Obie and I, we pressed “Well Known Asshole”. That just made everything for me. At the time, I was young, and in my head I’m thinkin’, “If nothing pops off on this, and nothing happens in my career, at least I can look back one day and say, “Hey, I’ve got a song on vinyl Obie and I put out, a dope 12-inch, and maybe one day, 40 years from now, some kid will call me tryin’ to find a copy to sell it on eBay or some sh*t.” Well, I guess eBay wasn’t around back then but, you know, some kid would be trying to dig my club records out from under me, ‘cause someone else wants to buy them. For me at least, I’ve been very fortunate to do what I’ve done and be able to get to where I am, but I can honestly say, obviously I hoped for the best, but I did not think I was gonna get to where I am. That’s for me, from my perspective. But I always had faith in Obie. I never thought I’d ever work with an artist that ended up turning into someone I could turn on the TV and watch his videos, on MTV, and watch him on the music awards, but when it happened…. I also wasn’t surprised, man – I knew Obie had the talent.

DJ Booth:  I hear you. Obie, MoSS wasn’t surprised – were you?

Obie Trice:  Yeah, I would say [I was surprised] because back then I was knee-deep in hood home spots, no electricity, pissy-mattress type sh*t, a f*ckin’ Nintendo or a f*ckin’ Genesis and just crazy sh*t like sellin’ dope. And this is what we did: I would take my hustle money, incorporate it with MoSS’ money, incorporate it with my brother, who was my manager, Terry Wilson, and we would go to the studio and do one-takers, and try to knock this sh*t out ‘cause we didn’t wanna pay that overhead. It was just one-take type sh*t, and we would knock out four or five songs in an hour, you know? [laughs] Like crazy!

DJ Booth:  Well, it absolutely speaks volumes about how far you guys have come. Where do you think this project will help you get to? Obviously, both different situations: MoSS definitely still on the come-up, Obie having removed yourself from a major-label situation.

Obie Trice:  If you’re a fan of MoSS, you’re a fan of Obie Trice, and you know the history of both of us, if you date back to “Well Known Asshole” and you see that and you know where these two artists came from, I think it’s just one of those appreciated records that you just need to have, you know?

DJ Booth:  How much will Bottom’s Up sound like Special Reserve? Because obviously your first two releases with Shady didn’t sound anything like Special Reserve.

Obie Trice:  I wouldn’t say that Bottom’s Up sounds anything like Special Reserve. My frame of mind, my POV today is totally different. By the same token, it doesn’t take away from the quality of music Special Reserve has. It’s one of those records that you have to understand and take it for what it is. Bottom’s Up, it’s me today, it’s a whole lot of things that’s going on with me today, and a lot of stuff that we would have to talk about when I do media for Bottom’s Up.

DJ Booth:  Guys, I’d be hard-pressed to do this interview, mention Special Reserve about 55 bazillion times, and not ask you each what your drink of choice is. So, if I’m a bartender and I’m about to pour you anything you want from behind the bar, what are you ordering?

Obie Trice:  Go ahead, MoSS.

MoSS:  This is a crazy question for me, ‘cause I’m not even that big of a drinker. I’d probably be outside in the alley, doing something else. [laughs]

DJ Booth:  [laughs] You can get water, that’s fine.

MoSS:  I’ll just be on some meat-and-potatoes sh*t and just get some beer.

DJ Booth:  What kind of beer?

MoSS:  Up here in Toronto, we’ve got this little mom-and-pop type beer called Creemore, and it’s pretty crazy. It’s only brewed somewhere around here, and I think it’s a micro-label.

DJ Booth:  And what are you havin’, Obie?

Obie Trice:  You know, I’m off that Henn.

DJ Booth:  Straight? On the rocks?

Obie Trice:  Yeah, rocks… I mean, I’m doing Hennessy now for the holidays, so I’ve got the eggnog goin’ and all that sh*t, but basically I do the vodka too, I’m a Ketel One type of guy, Stoli type of dude. Splash of orange juice, splash of cran, a concoction of both. When I’m on the pool table, we play for triple J’s, the loser’s gotta drink the triple J’s: Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, [Johnnie] Walker, all in one, hot, no chill. We gets it in, you know what I mean? But definitely no Muscato! [laughs]

DJ Booth:  OK, so basically what you’re saying is, anything that’s gonna keep you warm through the Detroit winter.

Obie Trice:  Yeah, basically. Basically like that – you’ve gotta tuck your liver right, you know?

DJ Booth:  I hear you. With all the alcohol-related album titles, though, should we be concerned at all that you might be skipping some AA meetings, or are you good?

Obie Trice:  Well, actually, I was gonna talk about this later, but I just got out of a Twelve-Step program, and it really didn’t help me.

DJ Booth:  Why not?

Obie Trice:  I mean, I just didn’t take heed to it. It was forced on me by a judge, in a personal situation that I’m in. It basically didn’t do nothing for me. I took heed, I took a lot of notes, but I’m a drinker, man – that’s what I do. I come from a family of drinkers, you know? Some people come from a family of smokers. Actually, I’m a black man – we drink like the Irish, know what I’m sayin’? That’s just where I’m from. I don’t look at it as a mishap, I just look at it as, that’s my right. I don’t smoke crack, I don’t do anything… well, I did E’s when I first took them with Eminem.

DJ Booth:  I feel like that is a story for another interview, on another day.

Obie Trice:  That’s that Bottom’s Up story there. But definitely Hennessy, definitely no Muscato.

DJ Booth:  OK, I made a note of that the first time and I’ve got you now – I will never, ever, ever order one for you if we’re ever at a bar together, I promise.

Obie Trice:  Oh yeah, and Patron shots! Yeah!

DJ Booth:  That definitely helps in the winter!

Obie Trice:  Yeah, I do Cabo Wabo too, sh*t, I might do some… I’m, like, a free-falling drinker, I f*ck with it all.

DJ Booth:  Obie, are you drinking right now, during the interview, or no?

Obie Trice:  No, I’m not drinking at this moment.

DJ Booth:  OK, just had to ask.

Obie Trice:  I do some Jägermeister, I gets it in. And beer, barley don’t sit well in my stomach, I don’t do the beer, really.

DJ Booth:  Well, whatever you do, just make sure you’re doin’ it safely and not jumpin’ behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Obie Trice:  Exactly! And I will consider that when I’m behind a vehicle, drinking.

MoSS:  [laughs]

DJ Booth:  Don’t even get into the car.

Obie Trice:  And I will definitely consider that when I’m putting the seatbelt on while drinking behind the wheel.

DJ Booth:  I’ll tell you what: if you’re ever tempted, I can give you my cell phone number – I will be your Chicago sponsor, to make sure the two don’t collide.

Obie Trice:  OK. Chi-town, huh? What do you know about 79th and Rainbow Beach?

DJ Booth:  Absolutely nothing, I’m from the North Side! [laughs]

Obie Trice:  [laughs]

DJ Booth:  Well, guys, it’s been a pleasure talking about Special Reserve and each of your alcohol fetishes, give everybody some more information on what you have comin’ up after Special Reserve. Obie, tell everyone when you expect Bottom’s Up to be out and, MoSS, talk about what other projects you have comin’ up.

Obie Trice:  I’m expecting Bottom’s Up to be released early 2010, maybe April-ish. I can’t wait to actually start doin’ media about this record, and all the things that I’ve been through in the past, and take everybody through the psychology of bein’ with Shady and all the things that went on. I’m looking forward to releasing this record. It’s a dope record. I’ve finally finished it. Special Reserve, December 15, and I’m out!

DJ Booth:  MoSS, what about you, what other projects have you got comin’ up?

MoSS:  I’ve got an artist named Eternia, I’m putting her out early next year. The single’s gonna have Joell Ortiz on it, and then we’ve got a follow-up with Rage and Raw Digga that’s gonna surprise a lot of people. And I’ve got the buzz single for AZ’s record, I did that joint, and Joell Ortiz’ album, I did a song or two on there, and a bunch of other stuff that’s coming, my album… a bunch of stuff to look forward to next year.

DJ Booth:  Absolutely. Guys, I thank you both for taking the time to join me inside the DJ Booth for the interview, and I wish you both nothing but the best of luck moving forward into 2010.

MoSS:  I appreciate it, man – thanks for the interview!

Obie Trice:  Thank you!

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